The Costs of Flood Damage
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Change first paragraph to: According to statistics from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information regarding billion-dollar weather and climate related events from 2019-2020, flooding was one of the most devastating types of weather event. Flood events have cost Americans more than $3.7 billion per year over the past 20 years. A flood can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars.
FEMA broke out the average costs of floods in detail in a chart of estimated flood loss potential. For an average-sized 2,000 square foot home with possessions of $50,000, just one inch of water could cost nearly $27,000, five inches of water just over $45,000, and 48 inches of water more than $103,000. For a large home of roughly 5,000 square feet with $100,000 in possessions, one inch of water damage could cost more than $53,000, while 48 inches of water could cost north of $200,000.
Despite these alarming numbers, only a small percentage of Americans have flood insurance – according to a 2018 Insurance Information Institute survey only 15 percent of homeowners carry flood insurance policies. Many homeowners do not believe they are at risk of flooding or mistakenly believe they have flood insurance coverage through their homeowners’ policies. Still, others think federal disaster aid will always assist them if their property should be flooded.
Unfortunately, outdated flood maps are giving some a false sense of security, and that prevents many businesses and homeowners from taking the time to understand the true cost of flooding. Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest loans, rather than grants, and recent disaster payouts after Hurricane Harvey averaged only $4,300 according to POLITICO.
We should also keep in mind that crisis response could be particularly challenging for FEMA this year, as a result of added pressure on the agency due to COVID-19. So, how much does a flood cost? Probably more than you ever imagined. Homeowners and business owners should get a clearer understanding of their flood risk exposure before they get soaked, especially now in these unprecedented times.